Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is the latest attempt in the long running quest of making a video game that feels like an “interactive movie”, this is an idea that dates back to those  cheesy (and almost always awful) Full Motion Video games like Night Trap or Sewer Shark on consoles like the Sega CD or 3DO

that idea laid pretty much dormant until the game Indigo Prophecy dusted it off, which I actually played back in 2005, it was a good game, but it had some obvious flaws that held it back from greatness, for one the graphics weren’t too great even by 2005 standards, but what really held the game back was the infamous plot twists that happened late in the game, the plot pretty obviously involved the supernatural right from the start, that wasn’t a problem, the problem was that the game’s story piled on ridiculous supernatural (and one awful science fiction) plot twists on top of plot twists and so late in the game that it just lost everybody, it was almost as if the developers figured that if the story was going to have the supernatural in it they might as well throw every supernatural cliche in the book in it (the end of the world, magic, secret conspiracies, super powers etc), but in 2010 the same dev team returned with Heavy Rain

I don’t normally review brand new video games, I figure with all the million other gaming websites reviewing them who’s gonna care about my opinion? when I review games I usually go for older games that I think deserve some more attention, but in this case I thought I had some things to say…

the plot of Heavy Rain involves a serial killer dubbed the Origami Killer who kills children (yikes) that kidnaps a man’s son and the various characters (including the dad) who try to track him down and rescue the boy before it’s too late

ok, long story short I absolutely loved this game, but it has some flaws that keep it back from greatness

it’s actually pretty ironic, the flaws are pretty much the opposite of Indigo Prophecy’s, whereas that game had too much story, introducing too many out there plot twists too late in the game, Heavy Rain has the opposite problem where there’s not enough story, there’s a couple of pretty big plot holes and information about characters that’s just never given

I found that pretty strange, so I did a little research on the inter-webs and discovered that a lot of stuff in the game was cut out, there was supposed to be a plot twist late in the game that veers slightly into the supernatural territory (or more like magical realism), but was cut out, probably due to all the backlash Indigo Prophecy got for the supernatural story elements, but here’s the thing, without it it leaves a pretty big plot hole

and then you have the back-stories of characters that are never explained, take the FBI agent Norman Jayden, he has a special device called the “ARI” that are these glasses and gloves that are basically an augmented reality device that help in the investigation, but where did he get it?

well in that case I read that there was a whole planned series of DLC episodes that acted as a prequel to the game filling in the back-stories of the characters, sounds cool right? but only one came out (and it has nothing to do with the main story) and the rest were evidently canceled for some unknown reason, why?

so basically what we’re left with is an incomplete game, that sucks, it sucks hard

still, there’s a lot to love about the game, incomplete though it may be, the story is still very compelling and it’s amazing to play a game in this day and age where the storyline is as much a selling point as anything else

the graphics are very solid, nice high quality texture work, the music is fantastic, the voice acting is great and the game overall has a very mature (and I don’t mean just blood and guts) atmosphere, I love that it’s finally ok for a video game to show a little nudity without Fox News having a meltdown (and by comparison when Indigo Prophecy came out in 2005, there was a little bit of nudity that was cut from the American release)

so it’s pretty much exactly the same as Indigo Prophecy, a very interesting, fun and well worth playing game that is nonetheless held back from greatness due to story issues, here’s hoping maybe next time David Cage and Quantic Dream will finally get it just right…

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